The following comes from the very talented James Brocato (@jbrocato23) of Shut Up and Jam. James’ fandon originates with the Seattle Supersonics. As he is waiting for their return to Seattle he gladly decided to hop in and shed some light on the New York Knicks using a combination of advanced basketball stats including the new and improved Wins Produced!
Struggles for Amar’e and Carmelo
Last season, New York made two big name, big money acquisitions. Unfortunately for the Knicks, money won’t buy wins if it’s not well spent. And after last season, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire both made the overrated list at the Wages of Wins. Also, Amare was one of the fifteen most overpaid players in the league. In fact, the number of all star game appearances Anthony and Stoudemire have racked up together is higher than the number of wins they combined to produce last season. Despite putting up big numbers in everyone’s favorite category, both of these players struggle with creating and maintaining possessions for their team. Of particular concern is each player’s steal to turnover ratio. Last season, Carmelo’s was 0.33, just over half of the 0.62 league average for small forwards. Amare’s 0.28 was not much more than half of the 0.51 that the average power forward achieved. While turning the ball over as much as Amare and Carmelo do may be partly attributable to the volume with which each is expected to handle the ball, great players who turn the ball over at high rates make up for it in other categories. Amare and Carmelo don’t. Let’s take a look at their stat lines:
In addition to being turning the ball over at high rates, both Amare and Carmelo are below average with respect to effective field goal percentage. Not exactly what you’d expect from the league’s most versatile scorer, as many like to crown Carmelo.
The Real Big Two in New York
Luckily for Carmelo and Amare, they have had a lot of great players on their teams in the past, which has helped to mask their mediocrity. And more luckily for them, this trend will likely continue because the Knicks signed Tyson Chandler. Now the Knicks have two WP stars under 30, Chandler and Landry Fields, who each produced more wins last season than Anthony and Stoudemire combined. Let’s take a look at the stat lines of Chandler and Fields:
As you can see, both Fields and Chandler excel in two areas where Anthony and Stoudemire struggle: shooting efficiently and taking care of the basketball. Indeed, Fields had the 4th highest effective field goal percentage among all shooting guards and Chandler had the 2nd highest among all centers that played at least 1,000 minutes last season. As a side note, Stoudemire has excelled in shooting efficiency in the past, and was actually above average with respect to WP48 in his early to mid twenties, but his production dropped off substantially at 26, and he has been consistently around or below average since. Carmelo, on the other hand, has been extremely consistent across his career, and has never been above average with respect to WP48.
Will the Addition of Chandler be Enough?
Of course the addition of Chandler means the Knicks now will have a “big three” of their own in Anthony, Stoudemire, and Chandler, in that order. Or at least that what they will say. But will the addition of Chandler give the other two enough of a boost to compete in the East? Let’s take a look:
Remember, the season is only 66 games, so 37 wins is the equivalent of about 46 wins in a full length season. And 46 wins is an improvement over last year. In fact, the Knicks have a good shot of making it past the first round of the playoffs with this team. But, why would the addition of Chandler, a great player, only provide the Knicks with a relatively minor improvement? It’s simple, the Knicks no longer have a great point guard, which they were lucky enough to have all of last year with Raymond Felton, then Chauncey Billups. Instead, they will depend on savvy but below-average-because-of-old-age veterans Baron Davis and Mike Bibby to run the point. Accordingly, if the Knicks hadn’t signed Chandler and instead signed someone like David West, or worse, Glen Davis, the positive perception of Carmelo and Amare might have taken a huge hit. Of course, the media probably would have blamed lack of chemistry and coaching and the supporting cast and whatever else they could think of that might protect their belief that points per game is far and away the most important statistic in basketball. The truth is that the draft and the lockout have helped the Knicks luck into some wins. Here’s hoping they realize where their real production is coming from or the Isiah Knick days may repeat themselves.